Book Review of Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair
Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair
By Ian Truman
Samuel Lee has known three days of freedom in the last eighteen years. Three days to come out of prison, see his daughter, settle a score and go back in again, for good this time.
Told in the tradition of the best literary noir, Tales of Lust, Hate, and Despair is a modern, lowdown and gritty take on the genre. Inspired by the cinema of Akira Kurosawa and Samuel Fuller as well as the music of Tom Waits, Sage Francis, Neurosis and Marilyn Manson, it is a novel that is sure to please anyone who has ever found themselves trapped and cast aside from the world.
- Tales of Lust, Hate and Despair will be free for five days during the launch week through Kindle.
- Ian Truman will be at the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair on June 30th.
- Blog Blitz on June 29th.
- Blog tour starting on June 29th.
About Ian Truman (Bio)
I am from a working class family and I am proud of my origins. For the last seven years, I have been employed as an assembly line worker, a forklift driver, a park ranger, a warehouse clerk, a janitor, an industrial laundry operator, a warehouse clerk some more and still am to this day. I have never stopped working full time and I saw firsthand how the theories of political science could hardly apply to the realities of the working masses. I have worked in the downtown area, in Laval, Rosemont, Montreal-East (Between the Petro-Canada oil storage facility and the Falconbridge foundry) and the south-west prior to gentrification. I have seen Montreal change and the people suffer from these changes.
I write not because I believe that some great social revolution is going to come out of any novel I can write. I have no illusions about the revolutionary potential of fiction writing. I truly believe that it is only by changing economic structures that a society can change fundamentally. This is basic Marxism. So why write at all? It is a good question. I mostly write to purge the hatred inside me, to purge the hours of factory work, poverty and strife of all sorts. I am majoring in Creative Writing, in a language that is not my native tongue because I felt it was a challenge. I am also graduating with a minor in political science, through which I discovered many philosophers that have influenced me deeply. I have studied the essays of Karl Marx, Immanuel Wallerstein, Ernesto Guevara, Max Stirner, Mikhail Bakunin, but also capitalist philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes or John Locke. I’ve looked into dichotomies such as Anarchism vs. Fascism, Communism vs. Capitalism. Nationalist vs. Internationalist etc… I believe that my existence is guided by philosophies such as Buddhism, Hinduism but also Nihilism.
As Nietzsche explained, human beings are guided both by rationality and irrationality. We are capable of reason and structure but at the same time we need flesh and passion, if not sin. I write political essays when I need to exercise my rational side. I write it in order to better my knowledge of social structures. I write it to better society. Rarely have I included philosophers or philosophy in my fictional works. I believe they are underlining all the stories I write. But I don’t write Fiction in order to prove a point. I write fiction to fill my need for creativity and passion. Mostly, I write because I need to. It fills my passionate, irrational side. When I write, I look for truth, however ugly or beautiful it may be. I look for sincere elements, uncensored and raw; I look for the visceral. My works combine beauty and despair, struggles and hopes. I truly enjoy dichotomies that bring people out of their comfort zones. I avoid moralist statements and allow the reader to bring their own conclusion about the work, about the characters, and (hopefully) about their lives.
Aesthetically, my style combines vernacular language to noir elements. I also enjoy dirty realism and modernist novels. I try to avoid anything too conceptual or things such as “Streams of consciousness. I allow myself to be influences by all sorts of creative endeavors. In the visual arts, I’ve enjoyed graffiti art for quite some time. I see political posturing as a creative act (Aka propaganda). I enjoy visual artists such as Matthew Barney and Shepard Fairey. In film, my most notable influences are Akira Kurosawa’s “Drunken Angel”, Imamura’s “The Pornographers”, Fukasaku’s “Yakusa Papers” or American (and Canadian) filmmakers such as Cronnenberg, Lynch or Smith. I also write under musical influences ranging from Grunge (Nirvana, Violent Femmes), to punk (Social Distortion, Bouncing Souls), hardcore (Warzone, Blacklisted, Blood for Blood), hip-hop (Dead Prez, Wu-Tang-Clan), folk (Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry), blues (Billie Holiday, Chester Burnett) and country (Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe). As far as authors go, I believe I am influenced by a large variety of authors. William Faulkner is the first one that comes to mind. But also Ernest Hemingway, Charles Bukowski, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Truman Capote, Henry Rollins, the RZA, Samuel Beckett, David Fennario, William S. Burroughs etc…
All of these cultural and philosophical references are found in some way or another in my creative endeavors. In the end, I may be the one typing the words on the page, but they are all in the back of my mind, spilling out their guts to the world through my words.
145 miles north-east of Montreal
27% serving life sentences
I know you requested to be here in person but your mother had enough sense not to allow it. You’re not eighteen yet, so her decision is final and I think she made the right call. Donnacona Federal prison ain’t no place for a girl like you.
Now, I know I’m not much of a father, probably because I never had the chance to be one but I am sorry I never got to be there for you. Your grandfather came to visit a few weeks ago. I’m glad to see that there’s at least one person from my side of the family who’s looking out for you. He told me you applied to circus school in Montreal. I never thought you could go to school for that, but he says your heart is set on it. So my heart is now set on it too. I just hope I get to see one of your shows one day. If you’ll have me, of course.
I guess what I want to say is, I ain’t got much, but I do have a little money set aside. Only seven thousand or so, but it’s something. It’s all legit money, so don’t worry about how I raised it. I don’t do drugs and I’ve quit drinking years ago. They don’t pay much here in prison, but I’m working the laundry service for 5.50 a day. I’ve been behaving well, and I got lucky enough to get on a Corcan program twice. It pays a little more and it gives me credits and experience to work when I get out. Now, the money is yours whether you want it or not. I don’t have much use for it in here.
Your mother said you wanted to know what happened that day, said you were pretty insistent about it. I don’t know if it is out of anger, which I wouldn’t hold against you, or if it is out of compassion, but if you think you are old enough to hear these things, I’m ready to tell you.
Samuel Lee writes a letter to his daughter from prison to tell her why he is in prison and why he killed a man. The writing is gritty, raw, emotional, and stark. It reminds me somewhat of a courser “Cannery Row” with its unbridled and stripped view of the underbelly of the large city in Canada, but it could really be any city that has a definitive poor or slum area. This differentiation between the classes is still prominent in large cities, despite our desire to eradicate this blight.
While it was at times difficult to follow the dialogue due to the dialect the story uses, the writing is emotionally powerful and exposes the soul of a man condemned to life in prison. It was difficult to read at times due to the nature of the topic, but powerful in the way that Steinbech’s novel explored the underbelly of society in his reaction to war.
I give this novel 4 out of 5 clouds for the writing and emotional tone, although I would not lightly recommend this novel to anyone because of the nature of the topic and the language used.
This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.